Simnikiwe Buhlungu: Notes to Self (Intimate 1)

The Showroom, London, United Kingdom
02 Oct 2019 - 02 Oct 2020

Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Research image for Notes to Self: A Mixtapenyana, 2019 / ongoing. Cassette tape recording at the Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge and London, UK as part of the Future Assembly Residency. Courtesy of the artist.

The Showroom Mural Commission is a unique year-long project for artists to activate the building’s emblematic facade. For this second intervention, artist Simnikiwe Buhlungu references strolling as a form of knowledge production and uses text, textile and interactive sound installations to communicate ideas of gathering through a call and response with local communities.

Departing from an intimate methodology of walking, for Notes To Self (Intimate 1) Buhlungu questions: how do we create structural spaces and communicate ideas of gathering within architectural, urban and public restrictions? How can one make visible personal reflections and poetics in the context of enduring collective ownership? This public commission seeks to pose these questions through a site-specific installation where passers-by can record their own notes to self that will be listened to, manifested, and archived as a living ecosystem of local responses. We invite you to come inside to discover and listen to these archival recordings, some of which will be transcribed into textiles featured outside in an evolving banner series, activating an acute and engaged response to the immediate environment and neighbourhood.

Buhlungu’s mural extends from an ongoing mixtape project, Notes To Self: A Mixtapenyana, whereby she explores the idea of self, s(p)lace and strolling as a form of knowledge production. Initially developed during her participation in a residency hosted by Future Assembly between Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge and London in May 2019, the project follows recollections interrogating the idea of selfhood in relation to a constellation of encounters with distinct environments, people, narratives, happenings, and ecologies. These earlier and new site-specific mixtapes are structured around a thematic tracklisting of ‘self-historicising, self-determination, self-referencing and self-actualisation’. The Showroom Mural Commission will thus not only be a time-based personal reflection, but also a fluctuating surface for self-expression to radiate and resonate outwards.

Curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose and Katherine Finerty.




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